Limits Author:Larry Niven In LIMITS, Larry Niven has brought together 12 tales certain to satisfy both his longtime fans and new devotees. — "The Locusts", written with Steve Barnes, is the story of mankind's first interstellar colony -- a community built upon courage, backbreaking labor...and a dream that quickly takes on n... more »ightmare proportions when the settlers' first children are born...
"Spirals", written in collaboration with Jerry Pournelle, tells about a foreseeable future in which Earth's economy is bordering on collapse. Not surprisingly, space projects are the first to feel the cutbacks, but supporters of the L-5 colony refuse to give up. They're determined to take the colony to the asteroid belt where they can find the raw materials they need to continue. A heroic undertaking it would seem. But the motivation for it is somewhat less than purely scientific.
"The Lion in the Attic" shows still another side of Larry Niven: his ability to create fantasy every bit as enthralling as his science fiction. Set in a time when magic, once plentiful, is dying out from overuse, it is the story of a sorceress and her lover whose search for a magical jewel is thwarted by a pragmatic innkeeper who has his own use for the gem.
"Talisman," written with Dian Girard, is another story from the world of fading magic -- a tale about a young thief who bungles an attempt to steal a rare charm, and ends up bound by the power of her would-be charm.
Niven is also the creator of the Draco Tavern, a unique bar that caters to a wide variety of alien life, and the Draco Tavern stories included here offer intoxicating visions of the future. In "Table Manners," the Tavern's owner, Rick Schumann, is invited on a hunt with alien carnivores...a hunt that is the aliens' equivalent of a formal dinner party. According to their etiquette, the guest of honor -- Rick -- must kill the main course. And although he's less than thrilled, he finds a way to fulfill the obligation without sacrificing common courtesy.
"Limits" is an unsettling vignette in which Rich overhears two alien customers discussing human's curious habit of setting limits, and then trying to push beyond them. It's just so much idle chitchat to the very busy Rick -- until one alien remarks that human psychology seems to be the result of a remarkably short species lifespan, and the other alien mentions that such a problem could be remedied.
Also included in the short story collection:
The Real Thing
A Teardrop Falls
The Green Marauder
Yet Another Modest Proposal: The Roentgen Standard